A shocking mix-up at a fertility clinic resulted in two California couples giving birth to each others’ babies - and unknowingly raising them as their own for three months.

Daphna Cardinale and her husband, Alexander, explained how they had their doubts after the baby she gave birth to in September 2019 had a darker complexion than what they do. However, the pair pushed their suspicions aside as they trusted in the IVF process and the doctors.

It wasn’t until a DNA test confirmed the mix-up in January 2020 that the baby girls were swapped back.

The pair has since taken legal action against Los Angeles-based California Center for Reproductive Health (CCRH) and its owner, Dr Eliran Mor, with medical malpractice, breach of contract, negligence, and fraud. It demands a jury trial and seeks unspecified damages.

During a news conference with her husband to announce the lawsuit, Daphna said: “I was overwhelmed by feelings of fear, betrayal, anger and heartbreak,”

“I was robbed of the ability to carry my own child. I never had the opportunity to grow and bond with her during pregnancy, to feel her kick.”

She added that breaking the news to their eldest daughter (7) that the baby wasn’t her biological sister was the “hardest thing” she had to do.

“My heart breaks for her, perhaps the most,” she said.

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“The Cardinales, including their young daughter, fell in love with this child, and were terrified she would be taken away from them,” the complaint says. “All the while, Alexander and Daphna did not know the whereabouts of their own embryo, and thus were terrified that another woman had been pregnant with their child — and their child was out in the world somewhere without them.”

The other parents wish to remain anonymous but plan a similar lawsuit, according to attorney Adam Wolf, who represents all four parents.

“This case highlights an industry in desperate need of federal regulation,” he said.

Both babies have since returned to their biological parents and all four parents involved have made an effort to “forge a larger family.”

“They were just as much in love with our biological daughter as we were with theirs,” Alexander said.

Indy100 has reached out to California Center for Reproductive Health (CCRH) for comment.

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